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ESPN Notices Women

Marketers have traditionally used spectator sports as a platform to address large numbers of male consumers in their natural habitat, but in recent years most marketers have taken note that well over a third of the audience for many sports is female. For example, last year's College Football Playoff attracted a 41% female audience, although the college audience does skew towards an educated viewer and females are far more likely than men to be college educated. But still, that's a huge number. So where are all the gender-targeted ads?

Image result for female targeted adsIt is indeed difficult to believe that the ad shown above was ever taken seriously, but indeed it was at one time. ESPN, for one, is taking a much more forward-thinking view these days, providing insights for advertisers like Northwestern Mutual, who want to target women in their messaging. Warner Bros., producers of Paddington 2 have taken a similar tack, and ESPN itself is spending money on a new marketing strategy aimed at expanding its reach to women and their families to increase ratings and Pay TV subscriptions. Let's hope they don't pander too them though.

Image result for female targeted ads 

But what is perhaps even more interesting here is that advertisers aren't necessarily shifting strategy because the female audience is growing at any great pace; but rather it is more about simply being able to reach a relatively large group of women at one time, which is getting increasingly difficult to do as the media landscape continues to fragment. Reaching large numbers of consumers at once has always been a major reason that branded product marketers have been ponying up so much money for live sports spots for so many years. If the strategy has worked for men, why wouldn't it work for other market segments?


Discussion: Have you noticed anyincrease in female-themed/targeted ads during live sporting event broadcasts? Do you think addressing this market segment is a good idea? Why or why not?